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COVID-19: Fall 2020 plans and student resources ›

This section of the News and Media Services department site tracks stories in print and broadcast media that feature Auggie faculty, students, and staff. The area also is home to material developed for University-related programs, events, and more.

National Science Foundation grants $5 million to assist high-achieving STEM students

(Minneapolis) – A $5 million award from the National Science Foundation will support the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Augsburg University will receive $3,075,000 of the total award.

The collaborative project will provide scholarships as well as internships and research experiences for nearly 200 students over a five-year period starting this academic year at Augsburg, Century College, Minneapolis College, and Normandale Community College. These institutions will work together to provide seamless pathways for transfer from two-year to four-year STEM programs.

“This award offers students a powerful combination of a scholarship coupled with experience to prepare them for the workforce or further graduate study,” said Paul Pribbenow, Augsburg’s president. “As a member of the Governor’s Workforce Development Board, I know there is strong demand for students with these majors. STEM transfer students enrich our campus and bring talent and wisdom that our country needs.”

Scholarships of $7,500 to $10,000 will be awarded to students pursuing majors in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, food science, mathematics, and physics. These students will be connected to internships and research experiences through partner organizations SciTech, UpTurnships, and MnDRIVE, as well as through Augsburg’s undergraduate research programs.

This is the third phase of a program initiated by Augsburg and funded by the NSF. “Getting the NSF scholarship for my education was an amazing opportunity,” said Radhika Tandon, who will graduate from Augsburg this year with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and is currently a site reliability engineer intern at Thomson Reuters. “Because of the program, I was able to attend various conferences and make connections with many interesting people in my field.”

The overall project will be led by Augsburg principal investigator Rebekah Dupont working in collaboration with principal investigators Jessica Bell and Joann Pfeiffer of Century College, Renu Kumar of Minneapolis College, and Angela Foudray of Normandale Community College. The Augsburg team includes co-principal investigators Alex Ajayi, Ryan Haaland, Amy Larson, and Michael Wentzel. Faculty from all four institutions will work together to create structural supports through mentoring, advising, and improved transfer pathways.

In addition to assisting students who are pursuing STEM-related majors, the project includes an education research component led by Keisha Varma, associate professor of educational psychology in the College of Education and Human Development  and associate vice provost in the Office for Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. The goal of the research is to increase the academic success of students through effective mentoring.

“I see great potential to understand how mentorship can improve the outcomes of low-income, high-achieving students and create positive STEM identities,” she said. “Through shared understanding across institutions, we may be able to increase capacity among all of our faculty to be effective mentors.” 

Project evaluation will be led by Xueli Wang, professor of higher education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, who brings expertise in longitudinal, mixed methods research that addresses inequities in access to transfer, particularly in STEM fields. The collaborating institutions will partner with the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) for professional development as well as access to a platform for mentor/mentee assessment across multiple sites.

This third phase of the program is funded by the NSF’s S-STEM program under award number 2030638. Grants in the prior phases (award numbers 1565060 and 1154096) funded scholarships for 111 STEM students, 100% of whom graduated and went on to pursue careers or are continuing their education in STEM fields. 

Media Contact: Gita Sitaramiah, Director of Public Relations and Internal Communications
Office: 612.330.1476  

About Augsburg
Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at augsburg.edu.

Media Advisory: Augsburg makes Election Day 2020 a university holiday

Augsburg University

In recognition of Augsburg University’s commitment to democratic engagement, Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, will be a holiday for Augsburg employees and students. 

President Paul Pribbenow lauds the ongoing efforts on campus to encourage voter registration and participation. “Augsburg is poised to be a leader in the national All-In Campus Democracy Challenge,” he said.

Because many people are voting early this year, Pribbenow encouraged faculty, staff, and students to use the holiday as an opportunity to assist others in the electoral process through forms of community engagement such as serving as a poll worker or transporting others to voting sites.

Augsburg administrative offices will be closed and classes will be canceled. Essential staff will be provided time off with pay during their shift to vote, if necessary, and receive an alternate day off.

2020 is a pilot year for introducing Election Day as a new holiday on Augsburg’s calendar. Leaders from the Sabo Center, student government, and Human Resources will develop a recommendation for an Election Day holiday in subsequent years.

Allen Burton Award goes to Augsburg faculty member Carol Enke

Carol receiving her awardAugsburg University faculty member Carol Enke won the 2020 Allen Burton Award. The award is given to elementary, secondary, or higher education teachers by the Minnesota Developmental Adapted Physical Education Leadership Committee to honor and recognize outstanding efforts and contributions given to students with disabilities in the area of developmental adaptive physical education.

Enke received the award in recognition of her 20 years of work and dedication to hosting Sports Extravaganza at Augsburg. Sports Extravaganza is an annual one-day event that brings children with physical, cognitive, and learning disabilities to campus to play games and compete in activities such as bowling, soccer, relay races, and dancing. It gives Augsburg students the opportunity both to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and to work with students with disabilities. Enke co-founded the event in 1999 and has directed it ever since.

Augsburg launches Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Speaker Series

Augsburg University is launching the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, dedicated to advancing education and support for its students and graduates in the disciplines of innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership. The center’s focus is on the practice and psychology of innovation and entrepreneurship, especially in relation to design thinking, lean start-up, and agile frameworks. Cory Erickson, of the business department, is leading the innovation center.

The center will launch with a 2020-21 Innovator Series, beginning with a presentation for Augsburg’s community from Jeffrey Cernohous, founder and COO of Interfacial. The September 30th presentation is the first of six for this academic year. The series will feature successful innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders from local companies and organizations.

The center will provide practical education and outcomes for Augsburg’s students and alumni through a variety of activities. These activities include cooperative projects between Augsburg student teams and local companies; support for students who are building organizations that impact social causes through innovation and entrepreneurship; support for student entrepreneurs launching their own companies and organizations; the creation of student teams drawn from the science and business departments to solve problems for new start-ups; student contests offering awards and potential funding for new ventures; the generation of research and scholarship through a think tank; and the promotion of rewarding internships for students in the for-profit, nonprofit, and government sectors.

Media Contact: Gita Sitaramiah, Director of Public Relations and Internal Communications
Office: 612.330.1476  

About Augsburg
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at Augsburg.edu.

Congratulations to Auggies named to the Summer Semester Dean’s List

University SealMore than 100 Augsburg University undergraduate students were named to the 2020 Summer Semester Dean’s List. The Augsburg University Dean’s List recognizes those full-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.50 or higher and those part-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.75 or higher in a given term.

View the 2020 Summer Semester Dean’s List.

Students who wish to notify their hometown newspapers of their achievement can do so at their discretion using a news announcement template.

Augsburg President Delivers Hot Lunches on Annual City Engagement Day

President Paul delivering hot lunchesDuring Augsburg’s annual City Engagement Day, first-year students traditionally go in groups to work in the community to launch their Augsburg education. Students, faculty, and staff this year, because of the pandemic, were encouraged to engage individually with their local communities in ways that are meaningful to them personally.

Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow delivered hot lunches to people experiencing homelessness.

“This annual City Engagement Day, I had the humbling opportunity to provide meals and clothing alongside community partners to the people experiencing homelessness and surviving the pandemic in encampments,” Pribbenow said. “We are called, as Auggies, to be caring neighbors.”

The Sabo Center compiled a list of local opportunities for Fall 2020 for those looking for a place to engage.

About Augsburg
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at Augsburg.edu.

Professor William Green named inaugural Hawthorne Professor

William Green, professor of history, has been named the inaugural holder of the M. Anita Gay Hawthorne professor of critical race and ethnic studies, effective September 1.William Green headshot

The M. Anita Gay Hawthorne Professor of Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies was created on the recommendation of a working group of students, faculty, and staff who advanced, simultaneously, a vision for the creation of a new academic department in critical race and ethnicity studies at Augsburg University. The professorship aims to honor senior faculty with an extensive record of achievement as well as a deep commitment to critical race and ethnicity studies. It seeks to embody the student and community orientation embedded in critical race and ethnicity studies. It aims to make concrete Augsburg’s commitment to critical race and ethnicity studies as a formal and significant component of Augsburg’s undergraduate and graduate curricula. It honors the legacy of Margaret Anita Gay Hawthorne (“Anita”) who drew upon the concept of Pan-Afrikanism to create a program at Augsburg unique to any college in the country.

Anita Gay Hawthorne was the only child of Roscoe E. and Josephine L. Leonard. She held a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Southern University and a master’s in counseling and psychology from Howard University. She moved to Minnesota in 1977 and met her husband Kevin Hawthorne in 1994. At Augsburg, she taught courses such as “Black in America” and “Introduction to Women’s Studies.” She was active in the community, serving on many boards and committees, including African American Social Services, the NAACP, and Excelsior Chorale Ensemble. She co-founded the Asili Institute for African Women in the Diaspora, was active in the Pan African Student Leadership Conference, and served as an officer for the Association of Black Psychologists.  

The professorship is anticipated to rotate among faculty with demonstrated commitments to the pedagogical approaches, research strategies, and thematic interests of critical race and ethnicity studies as well as the intentional design of the CRES department as an interdisciplinary locus. The Hawthorne professor will teach courses in subjects directly related to critical race and ethnicity studies.

President Paul Pribbenow commented on the appointment: “I have known Professor Bill Green for 15 years, beginning when he served on the search committee that brought me to Augsburg in 2006. I have witnessed Bill’s remarkable scholarship, publishing important books that shine a bright light on Minnesota’s historic racial inequities. At the same time, I have watched him bring a classroom to life, mentor students with care and respect, and lead his faculty colleagues in shared governance, not to mention serve the wider community as superintendent of Minneapolis schools. It is this distinguished legacy of scholarship, teaching, and service that we honor with the inaugural Hawthorne professorship.”

A prolific scholar and public intellectual with a long history of community engagement, Green is regularly invited to speak on race, education, civil rights, and Minnesota history. He joined the Augsburg faculty in 1991. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Gustavus Adolphus College and a master’s degree, doctorate, and law degree from the University of Minnesota. From 1993 to 2002, he served on the Minneapolis School Board, and as chair for three terms. From 2006 to 2010, he served as superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools. Between 2010 and 2019, Green served on the Executive Council of the Minnesota Historical Society (vice president, 2016-2018). In addition, he has published numerous articles, op-ed pieces, and book chapters on history, law, and education, as well as books on race and civil rights in Minnesota history: “A Peculiar Imbalance in Early Minnesota: 1837-1869,” “Degrees of Freedom: The Origin of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865-1914,” (winner of the 2016 Hognander Minnesota History Award), and “The Children of Lincoln: White Paternalism and the Limits of Black Opportunity in Minnesota, 1860-1876,” recognized with the 2020 Hognander Minnesota History Award. Green is presently working on several new book projects: “Nellie Francis, Fighting for Gender Equality and Racial Justice,” will appear in January 2021; “Strike!: Twenty Days in April When Teachers Broke the Law,” expected to appear in Fall 2021; and “Uncertain Brethren: When Liberals Gathered Under the Bright North Star, 1847-1860,” expected to appear in Fall 2022. He is presently working on “The Case of William R. Morris.”

About Augsburg
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at Augsburg.edu.

Augsburg University Names Inaugural Torstenson Endowed Professor

Timothy Pippert, professor of sociology, has been named the inaugural holder of the Joel Torstenson Endowed Professorship, effective September 1. Joel Torstenson headshot

The Torstenson professorship will be held by an Augsburg faculty member with demonstrated commitment to the pedagogy, principles, and practice that characterize the work and legacy of Joel Torstenson, professor of sociology at Augsburg from 1947 to 1977. The professorship is made possible through the generosity of Mark Johnson, class of ’75, who also supports the university’s Torstenson Scholars program. “I had the good fortune to participate in Joel Torstenson’s first Scandinavian Urban Studies term when I was a student at Augsburg. That experience was transformational, opening my eyes to a global context that has shaped my life,” said Johnson, who was named to Augsburg’s Board of Regents in 2018. “I’m interested in making sure that today’s Auggies have the same opportunities.”

Joel Torstenson ’38 returned to Augsburg in 1947 to develop programs in sociology and social work at the invitation of President Bernhard Christensen. He added courses in social problems, sociological theory, race and intergroup relations, and rural sociology. In the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, he created opportunities for Augsburg students to live in North Minneapolis, learning from people who lived and worked in the community, in what became known as the Metro Urban Studies Term (MUST), the first academic program offered by HECUA (Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs) and one of the premier interdisciplinary experiential education programs in the nation. A sabbatical in Scandinavia led Torstenson to develop the Scandinavian Urban Studies Program (SUST) referenced by Johnson above. These programs offered the foundation for urban studies, which developed some 20 years later: “The more we became involved in urban affairs,” Torstenson observed, “the more we began to ask the question—what is the appropriate role of a liberal arts college located at the center of an exploding metropolis?”

The professorship is anticipated to rotate among faculty members with demonstrated commitments to place-based experiential learning; to engaging students and colleagues in interdisciplinary program-solving; to supporting partnerships with local communities that promote positive social change; and to advancing social justice through educational experiences.  

“We are so grateful to Mark Johnson for his generosity and vision in honoring the Torstenson legacy at Augsburg with this professorship,” President Paul Pribbenow said. “It is particularly meaningful to me that Professor Tim Pippert will be the first incumbent of the Torstenson Endowed Professorship. I have had the privilege to teach with Tim and to witness his commitment to our students. I also am deeply impressed with Tim’s scholarship, which extends the Torstenson legacy with rigor and creativity.”

Pippert joined the Augsburg faculty in 1999. He holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His teaching interests center on family systems, juvenile delinquency, homelessness and affluence, statistics, and race, class, and gender. Recent research has focused on the impact of the recent oil boom in North Dakota on local residents, relationships and survival strategies of the homeless, and the marketing of higher education. Pippert directed the Augsburg Center for Teaching and Learning from 2014 to 2019. In 2011, he received the Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Learning—Excellence in Teaching Award.

About Augsburg
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at Augsburg.edu.

Mother Jones Quotes Professor Michael J. Lansing in Article on Police Unions

Mother Jones logoAfter recently sharing his historical expertise on racial injustice in Minneapolis with several news outlets, Professor Michael J. Lansing, chair of Augsburg University’s Department of History, has been cited in “The Infuriating History of Why Police Unions Have So Much Power,” a story in the September/October 2020 issue of Mother Jones. 

In the article, Lansing shares historical information about the conflict between Minneapolis Mayor Arthur Naftalin and the Police Officers’ Federation of Minneapolis in 1967. The story ends on a note of hope that in the future police unions will no longer hamper the push for police reforms. In Lansing’s words: “Anything that can be created can be uncreated.”

Paul Pribbenow Takes Part in Panel Discussion on Racism

Paul Pribbenow

On August 13, President Paul Pribbenow was one of four leaders from the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities who participated in a virtual discussion on confronting systemic racism. The 90-minute discussion, “Where Do We Go From Here? Creating Lasting Change to Combat Systemic Racism and Inequities,” was moderated by PBS NewsHour journalist Fred de Sam Lazaro.

The panelists were asked to deal with hard questions. Will reactions to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor finally generate measurable progress? What do universities need to do to help lead change? What are we prepared to sacrifice? Will white people acknowledge that they cannot in good conscience maintain silence in the face of racism?

In response, Pribbenow declared the urgent need to respond to systemic racism. He spoke of the need for leaders to disrupt the status quo in hiring decisions. He said that as a leader he has been asking, “What are those things that we can do quickly that actually plant a seed, that actually will grow something sustainable for the future?”

A recording of the discussion is available on YouTube.